In order to improve the well-being of its personnel and reduce back pain, logistics player ECS recently started offering an ergonomic coaching programme to mechanics and drivers. On a voluntary basis, they learn how to do their job with as little physical strain as possible. Later this year, a similar programme will follow for office workers.

Employees of ECS, the market leader in supply chain and intermodal transport with headquarters in Zeebrugge, have recently been able to participate in an ergonomic coaching programme. During seven sessions, both individuals and groups receive tips on how to do their job without forcing their bodies. 

The sessions are voluntary and are organised in cooperation with social agency Liantis and marketing agency Springbok. A total of 15 mechanics registered for the sessions. The initiative was started by the HR department, with a focus on the well-being of the employees. "We try to tackle well-being from a broad perspective, with physical and mental support to create sustainable jobs for all our employees," says HR director Griet Van Reeth.

Prevention plan
The ergocoaching programme is part of an overall prevention plan drawn up by ECS to improve the safety and well-being of its employees. "From talks with the various department heads it emerged that mechanics and drivers lose a lot of time due to back problems. That is why ergo-coaching was included as a priority in the prevention plan," explains QESH (Quality, Environment, Safety and Health) & Prevention Manager at ECS Tinneke Van Thienen.

" We try to tackle well-being from a broad perspective, with physical and mental support to create sustainable jobs for all our employees "
Griet Van Reeth, HR Director

The first occupational coaching programme is aimed at technics, the technicians who work in the garages and are responsible for maintaining containers, lorries and cooling installations, among other things. For them, an individual route was mapped out in which an ergonomist followed them in their daily tasks. On the basis of this, they received tips on how to carry out their work more ergonomically, for example by handling tools and equipment correctly.

For drivers, a prevention day is planned in September. In addition to a theoretical section on correct sitting posture, attention will also be paid to the ergonomic entry and exit of trucks and the opening and closing of container doors.

Ergonomic desk work
According to Van Thienen, the initiative is a win-win. "Our employees have fewer complaints, feel better and prefer coming to work. And for ECS it is advantageous to keep people working longer and healthier and thus prevent them from dropping out." 

In the short term, ECS wants to roll out this project further to white-collar workers. "There was active demand for this," Van Thienen knows. "We already offer a short training course on ergonomic working at a desk during the lunch break. In addition, ECS has invested in high-quality office chairs and employees learn how to adjust them correctly."

Following the ergocoaching programme, a group programme is being rolled out to help employees stop smoking. This comes after smoking breaks were abolished. "We didn't want to just abolish the smoking breaks without helping the smokers to quit. Here it is very important that they support each other, and that is happening."